United Nations’ human rights complaint procedure
Article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United States
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I provide the full text and offer a commentary on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the light of the proposed Ex Patriot Act and other abuses of the United States upon its diaspora. My comments are in blue.
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Every family needs rules. The United Nations has made it clear through this Declaration that there are certain rules that all members must follow to be in good standing. The failure to obey these rules will lead to the opposite of freedom, justice and peace in the world–i.e., to slavery, injustice and war–a dysfunctional family.
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Violations of this Declaration are understood to be barbarous acts not becoming of a civilized member state of the United Nations.
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Schumer, Boehner and Casey should be forewarned that their oppression of certain Americans or former Americans will inevitably, if not reversed, lead to their own violent overthrow by a people who desire to live in freedom. It is not to be believed that the United States only abuses its citizens outside the country. It abuses all its citizens, and one day the people will grow weary of this treatment.
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
The Ex Patriot Act will lead to less friendly relations between nations, because it will violate the rights of certain of citizens of the various nations, only because these citizens used to be Americans.
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
The United States was one of these nations that created this Declaration. What has happened? Do the Senators who have created the Ex Patriot Act know how they damage the entire world by their own refusal to acknowledge universal human rights?
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
The United States is not merely a member state, but also a permanent member of the Security Council. The United States should be setting an example to other nations in its honoring this Declaration.
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
- All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
The United States must not discriminate against former Americans. They are free and have equal dignity with the other peoples of the world.
- Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Article 2 forbids the United States to discriminate against people whose wealth exceeds a certain arbitrary limit, marking them as targets for special and discriminatory punitive measures.
- Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
The language here picks up the Declaration of Independence. Liberty assumes the right to pursue happiness outside the borders of the United States. The right to life suggest also that a person has the right to own property, securely, without threat of illegal confiscation or unjust and excessive fines.
- No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
To deny a person the right to expatriate by applying to them punitive treatment such as banishment or exit taxes is to make them a slave of the state. A slave has no right to move where he wants or to take the nationality of any country he chooses. The Ex Patriot Act treats people as slaves and not as free people.
- No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Banishment, that stops a former citizens from visiting to see family and friends, is cruel punishment and degrading treatment. It is psychological warfare, equal to treatment that tyrannical governments apply to their expatriates in order to try to coerce them into acquiescence. It is unbecoming of a Constitutional democracy or a free nation.
- Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
An ex-citizen is part of the everyone who deserves equal treatment and recognition under the law. The ex-citizen is not a persona non grata but has the right to be treated like a human being with dignity.
- All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Taxing ex-citizens of the United States in a manner different then other non-resident aliens of the United States is not equal protection under the law. Banishment of former Americans, treating them with unequal treatment to other citizens of their new country of citizenship, is discriminatory and a clear violation of equal protection.
- Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
There is no effective means by which a poor person in the United States may challenge governmental abuses of their Constitutional protections. This is clearly a problem, for the United States systematically abuses the human rights of its citizens, both at home and abroad, with effective impunity.
- No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Exiling under permanent banishment former citizens of the United States because they have a net worth of over two million dollars or because they had a tax liability exceeding a certain threshold is arbitrary. The Ex Patriot Act is thus a clear violation of Article 9.
- Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Article 10, like Article 11, protects a person from being judged as a criminal without the benefit of a fair trial.
- (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
Article 9 makes a bill of attainder an illegal act internationally and protects all people from punitive treatment without a fair trial. The Ex Patriot Act judges the specified expatriate without a trial, presuming their guilt of expatriating for the purpose of avoiding taxes (a non-crime).
- (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
The Ex Patriot Act penalizes the expatriate with the cruel and unusual punishment of permanent banishment, and it wants to do so retroactively to people who renounced their citizenship up to ten years before the act was passed. Article 11 (2) forbids the implementation of ex post facto laws like the Ex Patriot Act.
- No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
The exit laws of the United States require that the renunciant handover private information to the IRS after they are no longer a citizen of the United States in order to prove that they should not be treated with the harsher and punitive measures of the Ex Patriot Act. This is a violation of the privacy of the individual, of his family (if married) and of his home, which is an asset which figures in the determination of whether the person is a covered or specified expatriate.
- (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
- (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
An expatriate who renounces citizenship nevertheless has a right to return under Article 13; this right of return does not obviously still include taking up residence or employment without obtaining the appropriate visa, but it is a right that must be extended to the expatriate to the same degree as to any other citizen of the expatriate’s new country. A Canadian citizen may stay, for example, for six months in the United States without a visa. To forbid a former citizen who is now a Canadian citizen the same length of stay in the United States is a violation of Article 13, which attempts to prevent tyrannical countries from permanently exiling people born in their land.
- (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
Expats of the United States who renounce citizenship and become citizens of other countries in order to protect themselves from excessive taxation, double taxation, abusive filing requirements, unjust fines such as those under the current FBAR regime, have the right to do this. Punitive measures, such as permanent exile, against persons who seeks such asylum are a violation of Article 14.
- (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
A person who renounces US citizenship is not a criminal but could be a political victim because of the political nature of their renunciation and their treatment by the United States which punishes them for their expatriation. Article 14 thus still protects them and condemns their treatment at the hands of the United States.
- (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
- (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
Article 15 treats the right to expatriate as a fundamental right. The Ex Patriot Act seeks to prevent rich citizens from exercising this fundamental right.
- (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
- (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
- (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
An American has the right to marry a non-American. Article 16 seeks to protect marriages from arbitrary and unfair treatment. Marriages of American expats are in danger because of extra-territorial taxation. The non-resident alien spouse of an American comes into the danger of excessive fines of the current FBAR regime, as well as unjust extra-territorial taxation. An American who renounces citizenship in order to protect their non-resident alien spouse has the right to do so, and Article 16 would protect that person and their spouse from abuse that may result from expatriation.
- (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
- (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
FBAR and FATCA are arbitrary and invasive laws which harm the right of US Expats to own property, to have business partnerships and to own bank accounts. FBAR fines under OVDI programs arbitrarily deprive US Expats of their property. Extra-territorial taxation also deprives the Expat of property via taxation without representation; that taxation being outside of the jurisdication of the United States, the US expat derives no benefit from it. The expat who decides to renounces their citizenship only does so in order to protect their rights under Article 17.
- Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
The United States is not the god of US expats to whom they owe eternal gratitude and loyalty. Therefore, the expat has a fundamental right to change their nationality without retribution. To insist that the expat owes eternal loyalty to the United States is idolatry.
- Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
- (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
- (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
The Ex Patriot Act is an attempt to prevent a person from renouncing his association with the United States and forming new associations and loyalties.
- (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
- (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
- (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
A US expat may need to renounce citizenship in order to partake in the government of the country of their residence. The United States may seek to exile such a person under the Ex Patriot Act. This would be a violation of Article 21. A person who is forced to pay extraterritorial taxes to the United States, or whose bank accounts under FATCA are revealed to the IRS, has unequal service in his country of residence. The expat does not have equal access to services in the United States either. Expats do not always have access to voting in the United Staes, nor do they have any representative in government who looks after their interests. Therefore, US elections are meaningless to expats who have no effective means to express their will to the United States government.
- Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
United States extraterritorial taxation threatens the social security of US expats whose retirement accounts are subject to taxation and excessive FBAR fines. Their respective countries have created registered retirement pensions which have tax advantages (such as the Canadian RRSP) in order to provide for the social security of their residents. The United States taxation of these accounts jeopardizes the social security of US expats and places new and extraordinary social burdens on their countries of residence. Article 22 would thus condemns this US taxation of foreign savings accounts, such as the Canadian TFSA, RESP, RDSP and the equivalent accounts in other countries. This is an attack on the social security of expats. An Expat who renounces to protect his savings accounts does so to assure the social security of himself and his family in terms that are legal in their country of residence. The punitive measures of the Ex Patriot Act therefore are a violation of Article 22, which protects the right of a expats to secure their retirements and their future well-being.
- (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
Expats who move overseas to work have done no wrong and must not be punished by the United States.
- (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
Expats who work in other countries are entitled to the same pay as other residents of that country. US extraterritorial taxation can undermine equality of pay through an excessive burden of taxation and expensive filing requirements that makes the effective pay of US expats less than that of others.
- (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
United States extraterritorial taxation undermines just and favorable remuneration and jeopardizes the well being of the families of US expats. It is demeaning and humiliating to be treated in this manner by a government in a far away land. Rather than supplementing the well-being of expats, the United States seeks to leech off of them, taxing them while providing no useful services to them.
- (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
- Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
Taxation requires that a person work extra hard in order to maintain a lifestyle. United States double taxation of expats and excessive fines under FBAR literally rob people of their savings so that they must work longer and have fewer opportunities for leisure.
- (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
US extraterritorial taxation takes no account of the higher cost of living in other countries, including sales taxes for which there is no equivalent in the United States. While a person may seem to make a lot of money in another country, the US has no right to tax them because it does not provide any of the services such as health care, education or other social services that the expat needs to survive in the country of residence.
- (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
What services to motherhood and childhood does the United States provide to expats? None. So the United States should not take from expats when it does nothing to help them.
- (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
The United States does not provide free education to US expats and their families.
- (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
The Ex Patriot Act, by its example to the nations of the world, teaches intolerance and retribution. This is no way to promote the goals of the United Nations or world peace.
- (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
- (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
US expat have the right to take part in their communites without being judged by the United States. It may require taking on citizenship, and some countries require that the person renounce other loyalties, even as the United States requires this of its new citizens. The Ex Patriot Act would prevent a person from being able to participate freely as a citizen in their new community.
- (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
- Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
The Ex Patriot Act is clearly trying to prevent US citizens from exercising their freedoms and rights as provided in this Declaration and would thus be substantive violation of Article 28.
- (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
- (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
- (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
- Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.
Conclusion: The Ex Patriot Act (2012, proposed), the Reed Amendment (1996), the HEART Act (2008), FBAR (1970), FATCA (2010), and extraterritorial taxation (see Internal Revenue Code) are forcing US expats to make a choice, either (1) to acquiesce and thus suffer serious discrimination and abuse at the hands of the United States; or (2) to exercise their right to renounce their citizenship. But the Ex Patriot Act, the Reed Amendment, and the HEART Act would curtail that right to expatriate, forcing Americans in some cases to pay an exit tax. Furthermore, through the proposed monstrosity called the Ex Patriot Act, the United States would banish certain former Americans permanently. These measures are extreme and substantial violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United States violates not just one or two of these rights, but nearly every single one. This is hardly a coincidence. The United States has become the sort of nation that it once condemned.